Friday, March 20, 2009

Installing the R4DS from scratch | DS lite R4

Have you ever wanted to run homebrew applications on your DS Lite (NDS or Nintendo DS Lite) or downloaded ROMS. On one of my posts it showed where to download free NDS or NDS lite games, now heres how to install R4(NDS Lite R4) from scratch.

Files you will need:


Hardware you'll need:

Revolution for DS (R4DS):

Your microSD - 2GB or below; received news that 4GB may not work (haven't tested though, since I don't have one yet; sorry);

USB reader for the microSD (either using the mirco-SD to SD adapter and USB card reader or the MicroSD USB reader would do).

Ensure that the microSD is empty and that you have backed up everything first before proceeding further.


Install the R4DS kernel file.Either download the kernel file from above English-1.18.rar, or the latest one from, if it's up already (it's been down for quite a while now). Unzip the contents of the kernel file. You should end up with _system_ folder/directory, DS_MENU.DAT, and _DS_MSHL.NDS.

Connect your R4DS into your PC via your card reader.
Copy all of the files, into the microSD.

Update MoonshellYou'll be using the file (or get latest version from to update the moonshell. Do the following:

Ensure that the microSD is plugged in to your PC;
Unzip the moonshell zip file into a temporary directory;
Run setup.exe in that temporary directory; it would automatically detect the drive assigned to your microSD

Click OK

Configure the moonshell as follows:

Configuration files: Select moonshl.ini (full) is copied.
ROM Files: Select R4TF R4(DS) - Revolution for DS only.
Other configs: this is up to you :)

Click OK then wait for the setup to Finish
Verify that the microSD has the MoonShell_R4TF_M3Simply-R4DS (MicroSD Card).nds and moonshl folder/directory.

Copy the NDS Game RomsI would suggest that you create a new folder/subdirectory, say, named Games and then each ROM would have its own directory.

This is entirely up to you. I suggest the above just for easier organization.

Install DSOrganize
DSOrganize is one of the most popular homebrew organizer application for the Nintendo DS. It provides a calendar, drawing pad, todo list, address book, and web browser. Almost like a PDA, but not quite.

You will need the DSOrganize file and the custom exec_stub.bin file. You can download both from or you can use the and above.

Unzip the DSOrganize zip file into your hard drive;
Unzip the exec_stub.bin file from
Replace the exec_stub.bin file in the DSOrganize/RESOURCES directory.
Copy the entire DSOrganize folder and DSOrganize.nds file into the root directory of the microSD.

And that's it. I had no time to play with the DSOrganize plugins, though, so I can't comment on them yet.

OPTIONAL: Customize Theme

First, it is important to know how the images in the NDS are mapped to which files first. So here's the rough description:

logo.bmp - Bootup top screen image;
icons.bmp - Bootup bottom/touchscreen image (i.e., "Play", "Media", or "Slot2");
bckgrd_1.bmp - the browser top screen background image;
bckgrd_2.bmp - the browser bottom/touchscreen background image;
gbaframe.bmp - the border used for GameBoy Advanced (GBA) games (slot 2).

Hence, when using a theme, you need to rename the images to their corresponding filenames above. (You wouldn't want the top and bottom screen images on the wrong screen, would you?)

Here are some important notes to remember:

The files should be copied into the _system_ folder;
The image size should be 256x192;
The file format should be a 24bit Bitmap (BMP).

If you prefer downloading instead of creating your own, search the web. I suggest the site, which, thankfully, is still up and running.

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